My reports were due this morning at 8:30. They’re not done. And they probably won’t be until Monday. There, that’s my confession. Actually, I’m not feeling any guilt about this but it is surprising how many teachers I’ve mentioned this to in the last 24 hours who have responded with a gasp of surprise.
“Really? When are you gonna do them?”
The truth is I will probably get them all done this weekend, but not because I think they should be done this weekend. I’ll get them done this weekend because someone is telling me they have to get done. And thus, I must ask, Is this a good reason to write reports? Just because they “have to be done”? We are writing them because it is an appropriate time for the organization (i.e., the school) but is it an appropriate time for our students?
Fact: right now, on this date, is not an appropriate time for me to be giving grades for every student. Some kids are having difficulty figuring out what’s been happening in our new unit. Others are right smack-dab in the middle of a major autobiographical writing assignment. And others have hardly given me enough evidence for me to arrive at a grade.
About a month ago I was considering sending home a handful (maybe 10) progress reports on some of my students — some reporting good news, others reporting the not-so-good, or some changes. I was warned that a progress report, because it goes into the students’ permanent file, was “too serious” for reporting on some of the things that I had wanted to say. Too serious? So, like, where should I report it, then?
Option A: wait until the quarter report (i.e., now)
Option B: send an e-mail / call parents (less formal, just a heads-up but not “written in stone”)
Option C: write the report anyway
I chose Option C, primarily because I felt that at that moment was the appropriate time to let parents know how their child was doing.
So now I have all this marking and reporting looming in front of me, and I’m sad that all of it is just to arrive at a number to go in a box on a piece of paper. There are days that I fantasize about teaching and learning without formal assessment. I know it’s completely unrealistic and that learning must be guided by assessment (I KNOW this), but sometimes I like to fantasize. Can you forgive this Piscean dreamer teacher?
And on that note, I will now immerse myself in Twelfth Night stage ideas (pretty funny), original short stories (some funny, some sad, most good), and drawings of Roald Dahl characters (absolutely hilarious). At least it will be interesting!